Blue Zone for Nigeria

I recently lost a dear friend, to kidney failure and blood transfusion complications. It was heart-wrenching. This guy was a quiet, gentle and focused giant, with a ready smile for every occasion. He was cut short in his prime, and left behind no wife or child – another pain-point for me. This brought on a lot of memories, of reaching out to old friends and trying to evaluate if I am actually living my purpose.

Some days ago, I stumbled on the word “Ikigai”. Wikipedia told me that

Ikigai (生き甲斐,) is a Japanese term for “a reason for being.” The word ‘Ikigai’ is usually refers to the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.[1] The word roughly translates to the “thing that you live for”[2] but it also has the nuance of “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” similar to a daily purpose.[3] Each individual’s ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values and beliefs. It reflects the inner self of an individual and expresses that faithfully, while simultaneously creating a mental state in which the individual feels at ease. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are never forced on an individual; they are often spontaneous, and always undertaken willingly, giving the individual satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.[1]

Then I found Thomas Oppong’s Medium article on the subject and understood a lot more. Thomas mentions Dan Buettner (who deserves another article on his own, about how he has made his passion his work), who studied hotspots of places where people lived the longest, and published books on this, with titles that included the phrase “Blue Zone”.

Buettner has been able to prove that applying his Blue Zone Principles to cities can improve the overall health and lifespan of its inhabitants. The key to success involved focusing on the ecology of health – creating a healthy environment rather than relying on individual behaviors. His first try in 2008, in Albert Lea, Minnesota was successful. Other cities and communities have applied the principles successfully too.

I know these applications happened in cities in a developed country (USA), but it got me thinking: what if we could work towards creating that healthy environment in Nigeria? What if we could study the principles, and herald it to our leaders for them to use as blueprints for the next four years?

They say that our country is so unique, no theory works out of the box in it, and I agree. What if we could derive a Nigerian version, that will also allow a family on any income level to embrace the tenets that would guarantee better health, and longer, more fulfilling lives?

The Blue Zone Principles promise results in such a short time, I wonder why we have not given it a try before now. If only our leaders were readers more often than spenders. I guess we can decide the next set, come 2019 – if our votes truly count.

As for me, I am going to spend a bit of time each day, trying to figure out a way to bring this about in my environment. Do you know anyone who can help kickstart a movement?

Daydah, September 23, Writer

My birthday is in a few days, and while I am nursing a bad cold, and trying to get work done, I am actually not looking forward to it this year.

I will tell you why.

For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to make my birthday, a day of joy for others. I plan matchmaking parties (got many friends hitched this way), or outings, or even lunches, where I go the extra mile to cook up a three course meal.

But this year, I just want to run away. I want to sit and reminisce on all the years of my life. I want to contemplate on where I am now, and how I have miraculously survived on my own, as a single mother for the past two years. I want to sing to myself, laugh at my memories, cry to a stupor and smile as I remember my son’s antics.

I would prefer a spot where I can be part of nature for a while, just listening to the birds chirping, the wind rustling the leaves, or the sea lapping at the shore.

Just for 48 hours.

But I can’t.

I have to be there, for others once again.

This time, I know most of the people that will reach out on Sunday will be those who care about me; those who are still not used to the idea that I might have died in 2017 and there was nothing they could have done to save me; those who remember the old jovial happy me of about a decade ago, and long to see her once again, shining with warmth, hugging everyone within reach.

I long for her too.

Ever since I got back, I catch a glimpse of her sometimes, hear her boisterous laughter once in a while. I know it will take time to heal, so I am patient with her. I know all the broken pieces of her shattered heart can only be put together in time, but I wonder.

Can the broken edges can be sealed up once again? Can she ever love again? Can she ever remember the pain and not hurt inside?

I got a mail from NaNoWriMo today. Someone there remembered my birthday. The letter encouraged me to prioritize my creativity. While it may be just another promotional newsletter to the writer, it touched me because a part of me that I wish I could revive, is my creativity.

I wish I could make one-of-a-kind stone bead jewelry again. I wish I could write again, with gusto, and actually finish a piece. In time, again, I guess.

One of the things mentioned in the mail that I did immediately, was to check for famous writers and authors born in September too.

I did not find any one for September 23. I could not believe it! I checked IMDb, and Famous people, but could not find any author, only songwriters, and lots of actors. Then I checked On This Day, and saw some, but none of them was born in my generation!

The most recent writer (not songwriter), is Peter Allen David, an American writer born in 1956. He’s still alive, known as PAD, and writer of comic books like Incredible Hulk, Aquaman, Super girl and more (maybe I should consider writing comic books eh?). He also wrote Ben 10: Alien force. I like him already 🙂

So for this generation, I submit to you,

Adedayo “Daydah” Makinde, Nigerian writer born in 1984.

Watch out for that name 🙂

Sunday musings on house prices in London

It’s become a little tradition that on Sundays, my husband and I go to our nearby park, get a cup of coffee and go for a walk. We talk about various things, do a bit of people and dog watching and generally just enjoy the fresh air. One of today’s musings was about house prices…